Thirty-four percent of millennials work every single day of their vacations. Yup, that’s one out of every three people, and what’s just as awful is that they return to work feeling even less productive than before they left, according to a June 2015 study by Alamo Rent A Car. It makes sense, in a warped way: We get emails to our cell phones, and there’s this crippling feeling like nothing can wait.
If I just answer this email really fast, it will be one less headache to deal with when I get back, we reason.
If I don’t finish this project, my boss will never consider me for a promotion, we agonize.
If, if, if. There are a million reasons to keep us plugged in, casually checking in to make sure we’re not thisclose to losing our jobs, but what does that really cost us? We get back to the office, and we’re not really refreshed. We’re that much closer to burnout, and because we feel less productive when we get back (and are in the midst of unburying ourselves from the mountain of emails and to-do’s we didn’t get to), we feel less inclined to take time off later.
The study also found that 2 out of every 5 Americans end the year without using all of their vacation days.
Almost 20 percent lose 5 days or more that they never claimed — that’s like telling your boss, “it’s cool, you don’t have to pay me the last week of the year; keep the money!”
Even if you’re just sitting at home, doing laundry and binge-watching Modern Family reruns, commit to taking time for yourself before the year ends. Maybe it’s just one day off every few weeks, if you don’t think you can be away from the office for more than a few days.
If you really feel like you can’t unplug during your time off, try the 95 percent rule, where you commit to thinking about work for just 5 percent of your time off, which could mean a 20-minute email check at the end of the day or every other day, just so you have peace of mind. At the same time, it may be worth asking why you feel you can’t ever take a day off and truly unplug, and what steps you could take to restore healthy boundaries into your workday.
Life’s too short to feel chained to your desk and bitterly unhappy.
This post is part of Life Between Weekends’ Tuesday Takeaway series. Every Tuesday, we’ll share the most compelling insight we’ve gleaned from a book, movie, tour, documentary or article to inspire you during the workday.
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